At This Point, I’d Be OK With An Arranged Marriage

As the child of fairly strict immigrant parents, I’m pretty much legally obligated to rebel. That’s why when I was just a dreamy adolescent, I scoffed at the idea of an arranged marriage—where was the romance, the drama, the passion? Now that I’m older though, I think maybe all my crazy South Asian aunties got it right and marrying someone my family chooses for me might not be such a bad idea.

  1. Arranged marriage doesn’t equal forced marriage. This is a huge misconception surrounding arranged marriages. While there are definitely areas in the world where women are forced into marriages, many arranged marriages simply involve bringing two people together to see if they’re compatible. The decision to ultimately walk down the aisle would be in my hands.
  2. I’m busy as hell. I’ve got a million things going on at any given moment: my career, passion projects, figuring out when the hell I can fit in meeting my friends for brunch… I have zero time for weeding through all the useless, jobless, terrible men in the hopes of finding someone decent. Letting someone else do all that dirty work for me would be such a time saver.
  3. I really don’t know what I want. Every time I’ve dated a guy, the qualities that I thought I was looking for turned out to be wrong for me. The super gallant, manly dude? Total misogynist. The sweet, sensitive nerd? He had no backbone at all. Letting someone else do the choosing might help me consider qualities in guys that I hadn’t before. And if I let my crazy friends set me up on blind dates, why wouldn’t I let my parents do the same? After all, they know me a lot better than my friends do, and maybe they even see things I need that I don’t realize.
  4. They’d fit in with my family and culture. I can’t tell you the number of awkward moments I’ve had where guys made some kind of cultural blunder or simply stood there confused while everyone around him spoke in a different language. Sometimes it gets exhausting always having to explain things to someone and play mediator. With an arranged marriage, my parents will choose someone who’s been brought up in a similar household, which means there’ll be no cringing while they gag over spicy food or accidentally say something offensive.
  5. Goodbye, ice cream shop syndrome. One of the biggest challenges to dating is that there are so many different choices, it’s hard to pick one and stick to it. I’m definitely guilty of this—I’ll be with a guy, but then wonder if I wouldn’t rather be with someone else. Having an arranged marriage would narrow down the choices for me, making it easier to decide.
  6. No monster-in-laws. If their parents approve of the match already, it saves me the trouble of having to convince my mother-in-law-to-be that I’m not a terrible person and do deserve their son!
  7. There’s a higher chance of making it work. Studies show that arranged marriages have a much lower divorce rate. Sure, you could argue that families pressure couples to stay together, but based on friends’ experiences, arranged couples are much more motivated to work through their problems. Part of this is because two families actually came together to help create this marriage, so the commitment is taken more seriously.
  8. We’d be matched more on values than common interests. It’s super easy to feel connected to someone because they love watching the same shows you do or because you both love stand-up paddle boarding, but common interests do not a marriage make. An arranged marriage would help me pay better attention to the values that we share, like thoughts on religion, family, and life philosophies, making for a stronger marriage in the long run.
  9. I won’t have to worry as much about preserving my culture. I love being a South-Asian American, and I love that my perspective has been shaped both by my traditional upbringing and my more progressive environment. Still, sometimes I worry about being able to pass on my culture to my kids without losing all the beautiful nuances that makes it so special. With an arranged marriage, my partner would be someone who also cared about engaging in our shared culture, maintaining our roots and one day teaching our kids as well.
  10. There’s a purpose to dating. Don’t get me wrong, I think casual dating is really helpful because it helps you learn about what you do and don’t want in a partner. It’s just that when I get to the point where I want to get married, I don’t want to beat around the bush: I want to know that my partner is going into this relationship with marriage as the end goal. An arranged marriage means that both our expectations are aligned, and there’s none of that “what are we” nonsense.
Devani is a biology student with a deep love and no talent for spoken word poetry. She enjoys singing in the shower, lychee boba, and hopes to one day develop enough coordination to look cool in da club.